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Dates: c December 30, 41 A.D. to 81 A.D.
Reign: 79 A.D. to September 13, 81 A.D.
The Reign of Emperor Titus
The most momentous events during the short reign of Titus were the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum. He also inaugurated the Roman Colosseum, the amphitheater that his father had built.
Titus, the older brother of the notorious emperor Domitian and son of Emperor Vespasian and his wife Domitilla, was born December 30 around 41 A.D. He grew up in the company of Britannicus, son of Emperor Claudius and shared his training. This meant Titus had enough military training and was ready to be a legatus legionis when his father Vespasian received his Judaean command.
While in Judaea, Titus fell in love with Berenice, daughter of Herod Agrippa. She later came to Rome where Titus continued his affair with her until he became emperor.
In 69 A.D., the armies of Egypt and Syria hailed Vespasian emperor. Titus put an end to the revolt in Judaea by conquering Jerusalem and destroying the Temple; so he shared the triumph with Vespasian when he returned to Rome in June 71 A.D. Titus subsequently shared 7 joint consulships with his father and held other offices, including that of praetorian prefect.
When Vespasian died on June 24, 79 A.D., Titus became emperor, but only lived another 26 months.
When Titus inaugurated the Flavian Amphitheater in 80 A.D., he lavished the people with 100 days of entertainment and spectacle. In his biography of Titus, Suetonius says Titus had been suspected of riotous living and greed, perhaps forgery, and people feared he would be another Nero. Instead, he put on lavish games for the people. He banished informers, treated senators well, and helped out victims of fire, plague, and volcano. Titus was, therefore, remembered fondly for his short reign.
Domitian (a possible fratricide) commissioned an Arch of Titus, honoring the deified Titus and commemorating the Flavians' sack of Jerusalem.
Titus was emperor at the time of the famous eruption of Mt. Vesuvius in 79 A.D. On the occasion of this disaster and others, Titus helped the victims.
- The Occasion of the Domitianic Persecution, Donald McFayden The American Journal of Theology Vol. 24, No. 1 (Jan. 1920), pp. 46-66
- DIR, and Suetonius